howard olansky
Howard Olansky, former publisher of Floor Trends.

The winners of the 2014 Howard Olansky Award for the World Floor Covering Association's (WFCA) regional associations have been announced. The annual awards, co-sponsored by Floor Trends magazine, celebrate excellence in communications, training, benefits and other programs for members.

The Howard Olansky Awards are given in three categories based on the size of the affiliate–large association, medium association and small association. Judges select a winner and designate honorable mentions in each category. Awards based on outstanding contributions in several categories, including: educational and training programs; lobbying and advocacy; social action, community support and charitable efforts; and membership recruitment and benefits. Winners in each category receive a trophy and honorable mention winners receive a plaque.

The Large Association Category winner is the Flooring Association Northwest (FAN). Formerly the Washington State Floor Covering Association, FAN won for the second year in a row. FAN continued to provide a wide range of benefits and programs for its members. This WFCA affiliate also extended its work with local and state governments on industry issues affecting its members.

"We wish to thank World Floor Covering Association and Floor Trends magazine for recognizing our association as the Affiliate of the Year in the Large Association Category. This is a real honor! The award can be credited to the commitment of our Board of Directors and Members. We have a great group of people up here in the Northwest! Congratulations to the other winners this year across the country. Striving for better connections and standards we can work together to take our industry to new heights," said Debbie Tott, FAN executive director.

"Flooring Association Northwest is proud to be an affiliate of World Floor Covering Association. We feel so strongly about the benefits and service that WFCA offers that all of our Regular Members are automatically enrolled in WFCA. Our members get two memberships for the price of one. The trade scholarships that our members take advantage of are making a difference in educating and certifying them. WFCA has been a solid organization for years and we are really excited about the exciting new directions that are sure to take us all to a new level," added Tott

The association put together a variety of standout events in 2013 including a State of the Industry update with industry heavyweights from Shaw and Mohawk; customer service, motivational, color sales and health reform seminars were also offered. FAN also coordinated another successful regional trade show with over 80 vendors showcasing a host of services and products for the attendees.

The association has gone above and beyond when it comes to member communications. FAN keeps its members up to date and in the know in a variety of ways: publishing a quarterly newsletter; sending weekly e-mails; and maintaining its own website. FAN also offers a variety of exclusive member benefits including a complete line of insurance, a comprehensive safety manual, complaint guide and claim forms. The association actively supports the local community. It participates in many local charitable events, serves dinner to the homeless, and donates generously to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF). Members also had the opportunity to network with their peers at a number of social events including their annual golf tournament and a dinner cruise.

FAN continues to be one of the most successful WFCA affiliates, demonstrating time and time again their commitment to serve their members and the industry as a whole.

Honorable Mention in the Large Association category was awarded again to the Maryland & Northern Virginia Floor Covering Association.

The winner of the Medium Association Category is the Chicago Floor Covering Association. The Chicago Floor Covering Association had an outstanding 2013, kicking off the year with their Product Installation Fair. The fair featured dozens of vendors exhibiting a wide array of products, tools and services. The association also hosted an informational meeting on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and held a State of the Industry event with the WFCA’s CEO, Scott Humphrey, as the keynote speaker.

Chicago also continues to publish it’s highly regarded quarterly newsletter “High Traffic,” keeping members informed on the latest news and industry issues. In 2013 the association established a retail advisory board to help retail members succeed in business.

This affiliate is also committed to community involvement, volunteering over 500 hours of service in 2013. The association raised money for local charities helping families and children in need and continued its tradition of awarding educational scholarships to members’ children - giving away a total of $14,500.

Medium Association Honorable Mention was awarded to the San Diego County Floor Covering Association.

The winner of the Small Association Category is the Minnesota Floor Covering Association. The Minnesota Floor Covering Association managed to grow its membership by 18% in 2013. Among other recruitment activities, members of the association attended the Twin Cities winter market to promote the benefits of membership in their local association and the WFCA. The group also put together a successful and well-attended State of the Industry event in the spring with speakers from Mohawk, Tarkett/Johnsonite and Florstar.

Minnesota hosted several social events throughout the year including its annual golf tournament and dinner at which they recognized and honored best local retailer, sales rep and distributor of the year. The event also raised money to fund the association’s educational scholarship program - four scholarships were awarded totaling more than $1,500.

In the Small Association category, Honorable Mentions were awarded to two deserving groups, the Wisconsin Floor Covering Association and the Utah Floor Covering Association.

“The World Floor Covering Association is thankful to have such a wonderful group of affiliates who continue to bring valuable benefits to flooring professionals in their local communities,” said Staten. “Each year, among a myriad of achievements, these standout associations continue to grow their membership, support local charities and provide ongoing networking opportunities for members. Their leadership and support help us bring greater opportunities and successes to the flooring industry. We look forward to another great year as we team together to bring additional business growth and profitability to all members.”